Building the VisSE Corpus of Spanish SignWriting

Authors Antonio F. G. Sevilla
Alberto Díaz Esteban
Jose María Lahoz-Bengoechea
Keywords Sign Language, SignWriting, Corpus, Writing Systems, Graphical Languages
Abstract SignWriting is a system for transcribing sign languages, using iconic depictions of the hands and other body parts, as well as exploiting the possibilities of the page as a two dimensional medium to capture the three-dimensional nature of signs. This goes beyond the usual line-oriented nature of oral writing systems, and thus requires a different approach to its processing. In this article we present a corpus of handwritten SignWriting, a collection of images which transcribe signs from Spanish Sign Language. We explain the annotation schema we have devised, and the decisions which have been necessary to deal with the challenges that both sign language and SignWriting present. These challenges include the transformational nature of symbols in SignWriting, which can rotate and otherwise transform to convey meaning, as well as how to properly codify location, a fundamental part of SignWriting which is completely different to oral writing systems. The data in the corpus is fully annotated, and can serve as a tool for computational training and evaluation of algorithms, as well as provide a window into the nature of SignWriting and the distribution of its features across a real vocabulary. The corpus is freely available online at
  month = {April},
  title = {Building the VisSE Corpus of Spanish SignWriting},
  year = {2022},
  keywords = {Sign Language, SignWriting, Corpus, Writing Systems, Graphical Languages},
  url = {},
  author = {Sevilla, Antonio F. G. and D{\'i}az Esteban, Alberto and Lahoz-Bengoechea, Jos{\'e} Mar{\'i}a}
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